Marine snow: major site of primary production in coastal waters

Abstract

Fragile aggregate particles, or ‘marine snow’, were collected by SCUBA from coastal surface waters using trace metal-free techniques, and their primary production (rates of photosynthesis by associated phytoplankton) was determined relative to corresponding water column production. Primary production associated with these particles was found to range from 11 to 58% of total production, indicating that large particles can have an important role as major sites of primary production in the marine environment. Our results suggest that the use of water bottles to collect samples for productivity measurements may not sample large particles adequately in certain conditions, and thus may lead to underestimates of primary production.

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Knauer, G., Hebel, D. & Cipriano, F. Marine snow: major site of primary production in coastal waters. Nature 300, 630–631 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1038/300630a0

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